Thursday, December 3, 2009

The news

My husband and I (he more than I) are news junkies. He watches the stock ticker all day and is glued to MSNBC all evening, with breaks for Brian Williams at 6:30 and Jeopardy at 7:30. What to do with the 7 p.m. time slot? More news, of course.

If you watch The Daily Show in the early evening, you get the previous night's rerun, which is fine with us because we're watching MSNBC. (Or he is; I'm usually in bed by then.) The big news Tuesday was, of course, President Obama's speech to the American public justifying sending more troops to Afghanistan. For some, there is no justification. And for others, nothing President Obama does will ever be right … or right enough.

Jon Stewart didn't dwell on it, though. His big news story of the day was illustrated by a clever montage of talking heads. The background music was Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody, and each clip was someone dithering about The Man Who Makes His Living Hitting a Ball with a Stick.

I had to climb back on the couch by the time it was over. I was laughing so hard I was crying.

I'm disappointed in Tiger's behavior, and any public figure should know better than to dally with someone not his/her spouse. The paparazzi are watching. All. The. Time.

If only someone in the film corps would take that kind of interest in, say, factory farms. Sure documentary makers have done so, but only nerds watch documentaries, right? (Yes, I am a nerd.)

I've been thinking about exercise lately, mostly because I can't do as much with this foot problem. But I've been thinking about food even more. Online nutrition counters are filled to overflowing with packaged, labeled, name-brand foods. Sure, the basics are in there, and I don't have too much trouble figuring out the data for my home-cooked meals. But it's astonishing to look up, say, "beef stew" and get three dozen results, all of which are either canned, frozen or dished up by a restaurant.

I'm convinced that processed foods are more responsible for rising obesity rates than their makers – or any official agency – will admit. Follow the money: It's cheaper to strip real food of its nutrients and then add some of them back, load it with preservatives and slap a "Healthy Choice" label on it. It's more convenient for consumers to buy a low-calorie frozen whatever, throw it in the microwave and call it lunch.

I have the luxury of being able to raise some of my food and barter for more. I still go to the grocery store – we haven't given up our soda addiction, and I don't raise coffee, tea, sugar, flour or olives (for olive oil). I've learned that organic carrots, for instance, taste better than non-organic ones. Therefore I eat them. I've ordered meat for the freezer from the man who raised the cow.

This is how I ate growing up. Our beef was always from a grass-fed 4-H cow. Chickens ran around the pen or yard until their time was up. My dad's garden was huge and he was very proud of being able to offer his family fresh, wholesome food.

I was not fat until we moved to a house located right across the street from a little mom-and-pop grocery store. I'm sure I had a sweet tooth prior to that move, but my choices were limited to what my mother cooked and served. By the time we moved to that house, I had an allowance and could cross the street by myself.

I was 11.

So here's what I hope will happen. If I go back to eating the way I did when I was seven, say – no second helpings, good fresh food, grass-fed beef – I hope to trick my body into thinking I weigh what a seven-year-old should weigh giving up some of the excess pounds without resorting to "diet food."

Diet food doesn't satisfy. One 100-calorie snack bag leads to three, or six, or however many are in the overpackaged, overpriced box. A low-calorie frozen meal does not a good lunch make, which is why one finds oneself standing in front of a vending machine (or a pantry door) at 3 p.m.

I had a good day yesterday. I did 30 minutes of interval training on the treadmill. I ate three meals of real food, had a few almonds in the afternoon (I didn't count, but it was definitely less than 22, which is an almond "serving"), and didn't snack last night.

Unless you count Jon Stewart as a snack.

1 comment:

denise said...

Sounds like you're on the path to good health, and likely with it lower weight.

I have been following the blog "Fertile Healthy" for a while now and she's very much an advocate of this type of eating. When I'm reading about it, it all makes sense and I get excited about the possibilities.

But when I'm faced with the prospect of the extra hassle of buying and preparing fresh everything...well, those HC boxes sure are enticing. In fact I count myself lucky when it's an HC box and not a bag o' cheese puffs and a pint of B&J (last night's dinner).

Sounds like you are well positioned to make a success of this living/eating style. Good luck!